Mountain Gorilla Escape
A mountain gorilla trekking experience for those short on time. Visit the gorillas, explore the forests, and relax in beautiful accommodation surrounded by the sounds of the jungle.
Prices: On request
Duration: 4 nights
Availability: Year round
Destinations: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
i) Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
ii) Walks into the forest
iii) Beautiful accommodation with views into the forest
iv) Cultural experiences
v) An opportunity to rest and recuperate around nature
This tour is a favourite of those who are short on time or have experienced a conventional safari in the past but always wanted to visit the mountain gorillas. You will fly into Uganda with the sole focus of heading to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to unearth the secrets of this beautiful forest. As it is gorilla focused we suggest visiting two different families on consecutive days to make the most of your experience. If time is of an essence we suggest reducing the trip to 3 nights and exchanging the standard trekking experience with a habituation experience to truly immerse yourself into the lives of a gorilla family.
Best time to visit?
So when is the best time of year to take this trip to maximise your overall experience? Without knowing you yet this is a difficult question to answer. With so many variables to consider we need to know what is important to you before we advise on the preferable time for you.
There are many variables to consider when attempting to recommend the best time to visit. Specific considerations include the whereabouts of migratory animals, the effect the density of the vegetation and height of the grass has on wildlife viewing, special wildlife moments such as the birth of baby animals, and the effect weather patterns has on wildlife behaviour. Other factors to consider are the variation in prices at different times of the year, visitor traffic, whether you prefer a lush or relatively arid environment and of course the annual climate, namely temperature and rainfall values.
For this reason we present detailed information for each individual destination in the locations section to help you understand what may work best for you. We will of course have an in-depth discussion with you prior to making a booking so you are completely happy with the time of year you decide to travel.
- Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Nature walks in the forest
- Visit to Batwa pygmy tribe
- Local community visit
- All available activities are included in the trip price
- Day 1 Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure Begins
Board your overnight international flight from your chosen airport to Entebbe International Airport, Uganda.
- Day 2 No.5 Boutique Hotel, Entebbe (L, D)
This morning you will arrive in Uganda and be met by one of our enthusiastic representatives at Entebbe International Airport. You will be transferred to your accommodation where you will have the opportunity to laze around the swimming pool and contemplate the exciting journey ahead. For wildlife enthusiasts, and those with energy in abundance, there may be an opportunity to visit the nearby Mabamba Swamps to observe and photograph the elusive and prehistoric shoebill stork.
- Day 3 Mahogany Springs (B, L, D)
This morning you will take the short ride back to Entebbe Airport to catch your flight to Kihihi Airstrip close to Bwindi National Park. The airport is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, therefore offering you a birds-eye view of the world’s third largest lake. Panoramic views from above helps you experience and appreciate the beauty of Uganda’s topography.
On arrival at Kihihi you will be met by a representative from Mahogany Springs Lodge and transferred to the accommodation. The transfer to the Buhoma sector of the park takes approximately one and a half hours on bumpy roads. Sit back and admire the beautiful scenery and culture of the area and enjoy the only free African massage of your trip.
Mahogany Springs is the perfect place to introduce you to the forest. Its open design invites the atmosphere of the forest indoors. Relax on the verandah with a cold beverage whilst listening to the chatter of the forest. For those who are feeling eager to experience the forest the lodge offers guided nature walks, visits to the indigenous Batwa Tribe or a trip to the local community neighbouring the lodge.
- Day 4 Mahogany Springs (B, L, D)
Today is the day you embark on arguably the world’s greatest wildlife interaction experience, a meeting with the gorillas of Bwindi. After a hearty breakfast you will be transferred to the gorilla trailhead at Buhoma in time for the briefing by your Uganda Wildlife Authority guide. After discovering which family you will be visiting you will begin the steep trek deep into the forest. An advance party of trackers will have headed into the forest to locate where the gorillas slept the previous night and begin to track their recent movements. The duration is dependent on the whereabouts of the gorillas. Occasionally they may be close to the trailhead but sometimes they may be located 3-4 hours of difficult trekking deep into the jungle.
On locating the gorillas you will have 1 hour to spend with them as to minimise disturbance to their daily habits. This is a magical hour and the experience will be unique to you and your group. Each family and each day is different so your experience will be entirely unpredictable. Some families will accept your presence and get on with their daily routine. Other families on other days may be more interested in you and intend on interacting with you.
- Day 5 Mahogany Springs (B, L, D)
Today will follow the same pattern as the previous day as you once again get the opportunity to head into the forest in search of a different family. Pay attention and note the differences between the family dynamics and behaviour of the two groups.
- Day 6 The End of Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure (B)
Although today marks the end of your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure you will return home with lifelong memories and stories that will initially excite and then no doubt bore friends and family for years to come. You will be transferred back to Kihihi Airstrip in preparation for your early flight back to Entebbe and subsequent onward journey to your final destination.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Overview: Set back on the pristine water of the Munyanga River and facing the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the natural setting of Mahogany Springs is beyond imagination. It is quite simply the perfect place to base yourself for tracking the endangered mountain gorillas.
Accommodation: Ten luxurious suites. Each has its own private terrace to enjoy panoramic views over the river and forest. Bed configuration in the superior suites can be twin, double or even triple. The lodge also boasts a presidential suite that houses two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It can be configured as a double, twin, triple or quadruple. This option is ideal for families. There is also a honeymoon suite with the same high-specification design as the other suites but with particular enhancements such as a Jacuzzi style bath tub.
Facilities & Amenities: The main building is equipped with a living room with open fireplace. Here you are welcome to borrow a book from the library or relax watching a DVD. The inviting bar serves up a great selection of wines and beverages. Relax in the bar or take your drink outdoors to the large terrace and listen to the sounds of the forest interspersed with the flow of the river. The dining room serves up a-la-carte meals that change on a daily basis.
Power & communication: All suites come with full electrical power including charging sockets in the room and en-suite bathrooms with all the expected amenities. Free WiFi is also available. Mobile phone network coverage can be unpredictable.
Activities: The main activity and reason for guests to visit is for the opportunity to track mountain gorillas in the nearby forest. However, other activities are on offer at Mahogany Springs, including, but not exclusive to, bird watching, tree planting, various local nature walks, cultural visits to see the Batwa Tribe and a tour of the local community.
Children: Kids of all ages are welcome at the lodge but please note only those aged 15 or above are permitted to visit the gorillas.
Accessibility: Mahogany Springs can be reached by road from Kampala or Entebbe but is most often accessed by air. The flight from Entebbe to the nearby Kihihi Airstrip takes approximately 1 hour.
No.5 Boutique Hotel
Overview: Nestled in the leafy suburbs of Entebbe, Hotel No.5 is a stylish boutique hotel. Only a short hop from Entebbe International Airport, the hotel is an ideal place to base yourself either before or after your wildlife adventure. With all luxurious rooms opening onto the garden and swimming pool, this is a great option for guests looking for an intimate stay in a tranquil setting.
Accommodation: 10 luxury suites in double or twin configuration and 5 luxury apartments. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, television and fully equipped en-suite bathrooms.
Facilities & Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, fine dining restaurant, a cocktail bar and a Spa & Wellness Centre.
Power & communication: The hotel operates on full electrical power. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the property. Mobile phone network coverage is widely available.
Activities: Enjoy the hotel’s facilities. Mabamba Wetlands shoebill tour may be booked externally. Explore Entebbe.
Children: All ages are welcome.
- Special Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Location: South-west Uganda
- Land mass: 321 km²
- Mammal species: 120
- Bird species: 348
- Big 5 reserve: No
- Mountain gorilla trekking experiences
- Mountain gorilla habituation experiences
- Forest walks and hikes
- Bird watching
- Batwa pygmies cultural experiences
- Indescribable interactions with mountain gorillas
- Beautiful wilderness
- Exceptional lodge options
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in south-west Uganda. At only 321 km² it is a relatively small wildlife sanctuary by African standards. Despite its small size it packs quite a punch in terms of biodiversity and of course its main attraction, the rare and endangered mountain gorillas.
It is renowned as being one of the best places on the planet in which to interact with wild mountain gorillas. The Mubare gorilla group at Buhoma was the first to be habituated for tourism in Bwindi way back in 1993. There are now fifteen habituated groups tracked from four trailheads. Three of the groups are found at Buhoma in northwest Bwindi, four at Ruhiji in the east, and eight at the park’s southern trailheads at Nkuringo and Rushaga.
Although this is overwhelmingly the primary reason for tourists to visit Bwindi it must be recognised these forests are amongst the most biodiverse areas in Africa. The forest consists of more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. These in turn support an astonishing 120 species of mammals, 202 species of butterflies and 348 species of birds. Mammal species include the mountain gorilla, common chimpanzee, forest elephant, L’Hoests monkey and black and white colobus monkey, amongst others. Activities other than mountain gorilla activities include birding, forest nature walks and cultural interactions with Batwa and Bakiga tribes.
Its location in the south-west naturally ensures it is often used within a safari circuit along with Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale National Park. Bwindi can be accessed by both air and road. Travellers can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kampala’s Kajjansi Airfield to Kisoro (for Nkuringo, Rushaga and Ruhija) and to Savanna and Ishasha Airstrips (for Buhoma). Buhoma is about 460 kilometres from Kampala which on Uganda’s roads is an arduous journey. Visitors often approach from the north after completing safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). The southern sector of QENP, Ishasha, is 62 km from Bwindi.
Best Time To Visit
Bwindi has a wet but mild climate and is accessible all year round. Temperatures are pretty consistent throughout the year with daytime highs of 23 degrees Celsius dropping to lows of 11 degrees Celsius overnight. The altitude in the park varies from 1300 metres to 2462 metres above sea level and sees approximately a 6.5 degrees Celsius decrease in temperature for every 1000 metre of altitude gained.
With the absence of a true dry season rain can occur at any time. However, the least rainfall occurs in the months of June to August and between December and February. The wettest months are October and November and March to May. However, don’t be put off going at these times of year as you may experience rain at any time of year.
The high season months of June to September see the heaviest tourist traffic and gorilla permits can be difficult to obtain at this time of year. However, overcrowding is never an issue due to strict permit regulations limiting the number of tourists visiting each gorilla family.
The low season months of March to May and November can be an excellent time to travel for those considering a tighter budget. Gorilla permits are reduced from $600 to $450 during these months which represents excellent value.
Overall, Bwindi offers an excellent experience at any time of year.